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Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: Jan. 18, 2024

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Switch/PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown'

by Adam Pavlacka on Dec. 14, 2023 @ 8:55 a.m. PST

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is an action-adventure platformer game set in a mythological Persian world.

When it comes to classic games, Jordan Mechner's original Prince of Persia is near the top of many lists. Released in 1989, it pushed visual boundaries through the use of rotoscoping to create lifelike animation, while the swordplay was a departure from the standard shooting mechanic found in games of the day. The title kicked off multiple ports, remakes, sequels, and even a movie over the years, but the past decade has seen little movement for Prince of Persia fans. Now Ubisoft is looking to recapture the magic with a new title that honors the legacy of the franchise.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown introduces players to Sargon, a rough-and-tumble warrior with a mysterious past who is responsible for defending the royal family. Before you know it, the prince has been kidnapped, there's a traitor among the inner circle, and magic is messing with the flow of time. The elements may be familiar, but the experience is all new.

At the core of The Lost Crown are the combat and exploration systems. Combat relies on parry and attack movements that are extremely precise. If you hit the timing windows, you can absolutely crush enemies — even bosses — but if you are too early or too late with your parry, you're taking damage. There's absolutely a learning curve, and your first boss fight is likely to result in death (or multiple deaths), but as soon as it all clicks, it works. Stopping an enemy dead in their tracks and dishing out the damage is a power move that just feels good.


As you progress through the game, you'll encounter different enemies, each with different attack styles that you have to learn, so you need to match the parry timing to the enemy. Adding to the challenge, groups of enemies will sometimes attack all at once. If the attacks come in at different times, you may be able to parry one but not another. Thankfully, there's also a dodge option for when you need to make a quick escape.

Having such a tight timing window certainly adds to the challenge, but at the same time, it feels fair thanks to the engine maintaining a solid 60 fps throughout. If you miss a parry, it's because your timing was off or you misread an enemy attack. For the former, it's simply a matter of "git gud," and for the latter, it's all about experimentation.

Hearkening back to 8- and 16-bit games, The Lost Crown expects you to learn from failure as you suss out enemy weaknesses and try to avoid environmental traps in the world. If you die, try a different approach. I fully expect The Lost Crown to be a very guide-friendly game, so if you just want to blaze through it, give it a week, and your favorite FAQ site will probably have you covered.

Finding your way through the world of The Lost Crown is going to involve backtracking and multiple paths as you slowly unlock the map. There are fast-travel points scattered strategically across the playable area, but you have to unlock each one before it's available for use. If you want to have an old-school experience, the game allows you to explore at your leisure. If you want a bit more direction, you can default to visible mission markers that tell you where your objective is located. Even with the mission markers turned on, it's not a direct line to the goal — the necessary path can be a bit winding — but it does help prevent endless wandering.


The Lost Crown has a distinct look: a visual style that appears to be inspired by graphic novels. It's a beauty to see in motion, but the preview build could use more work on lip syncing the audio to the in-game movement when characters are close up and talking to one another. Here's hoping that gets polished up before release.

In addition to the combat mechanics, The Lost Crown also has unlockable time powers that add to the combat (and exploration) options. For example, one power allows you to set a recall spot, move forward, and pop back. It's up to the player to get creative with their use, but the possibilities are enticing.

Environmental puzzles are scattered around the world. They can require anything from basic switch-flipping to more complex actions. For example, in one area, I had to unlock a door to move forward, but the switch was out of reach. The solution was to use water to move a water wheel (or two) so that handholds were in the correct spot. Once I had a place to launch off, I was able to get Sargon to the elevated switch and open the door.

After spending almost four hours with The Lost Crown, I can't wait to play more. This is a game that's going to have me swearing up a storm and enjoying every minute of it. It's also a title that is begging to be attacked by speedrunners. During my time with the preview build, I was focused on exploring and making it through the core missions, but I can't wait to see what kind of sequence breaking is possible with a little bit of creativity.

Another aspect that I didn't get to explore was the side missions. The Lost Crown keeps you moving forward with a core storyline, but that's not all there is to do. I found multiple side-quests in the game while playing. I skipped them due to time constraints, but it'll be interesting to see what upgrades they offer or what story bits may be hidden within.

Reviving a classic franchise after all this time wasn't without risks, but from everything I saw during the preview, the team at Ubisoft Montpellier is hitting all the right notes. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown may end up being the first must-have game of 2024.



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